Youth Minister Stephen Lashley??

Graduates of the Lodge School were on Saturday challenged by Youth Minister, Stephen Lashley, to do their part to help Barbados reach its goal of becoming a developed county.??

Mr. Lashley, an old scholar of the St. John secondary school, delivered the feature address at the graduation ceremony, held at the Grand Barbados Beach Resort.??

While noting that the focus of his Ministry was the positive development of Barbadian young people, he stated: "We do have a problem in Barbados with our productivity… but you have a role in doing more than we are doing today.???? You can play a part by not becoming a statistic.?? You can assert yourself as an entrepreneur, a professional artist, a musician, an innovator, a builder, an artisan…"

Mr. Lashley outlined that though there was often much discussion on the negative aspects of the youth, he was optimistic about the future.

"There will be cadre of intelligent energised young men and women who are poised to advance their lives and by extension, their families and communities.?? Barbados stands to gain every time young people pursue positive activity.?? Barbados stands to gain every time you achieve success…," he underscored.??

Mr. Lashley dared the former students not to blindly pursue their personal dreams but to see the necessity of contributing to the community as a key element of their growth and development.?? He also used the opportunity to invite them to the launch of the National Youth Forum at the Wildey Gymnasium on July 4 and to the subsequent action-oriented conferences and workshops. ??

??"The National Youth Forum is designed to give young men and women an opportunity to share ideas on how best to improve their lives and how best to contribute to national development.???? It is one of Government’s key policy initiatives aimed at ensuring that all Barbadian youth are involved and engaged in the conceptualisation, development and implementation of the National Youth Policy, which will inform programmes according to the needs and aspirations of you the young people of Barbados," Minister Lashley explained.??

Principal of the school, Trevor Pilgrim, congratulated the graduates on their achievements thus far and asked them some thought-provoking questions.??

"Do you know who you are, and what you want to do with your life??? Or are you just drifting along, changing with every new fad or every new idea promoted by the popular media or you friends??? You are unique.?? You have your own special contribution to make to the improvement of this world through your chosen careers and interests.?? Sit down and decide what that contribution is going to be.?? Awareness of one’s purpose in life often comes not through some supernatural revelation, but through the simple pursuit of an ability, skill or consuming interest that one has.?? Higher education or training is then the next step in the process of self preparation," he said.

The 47 graduates were recognised not only for their academic accomplishments in the arts, science, business studies, and industrial arts, but for their contribution to sports at the school.

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